Read Elliot and the Goblin War Online
Authors: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #General, #Humorous Stories, #Fantasy & Magic
Copyright © 2010 by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Cover and internal illustrations © Gideon Kendall
Cover and internal design © 2010 by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Cover design by Gothamhaus Design
Cover images © Cloudniners/iStockPhoto.com
Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.
P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410
Fax: (630) 961-2168
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data is on file with the publisher.
Source of Production: Sheridan Books, Chelsea, Michigan, USA
Date of Production: September 2010
Run Number: 13199
Table of Contents
For Bridger, who can become anything he wants.
As of today, there are only seven children who have ever read this book and lived to tell about it. Ninety-five children successfully read the first chapter, but upon beginning chapter 2, they started blabbering in some language known only as “Flibberish,” which makes it very hard to tell their parents why they can’t finish their homework. Thirty-eight children made it halfway through this wretched book before their brains simply shut down and they began sucking their thumbs through their noses.
But these are minor problems compared to what happened to those who read the final chapters of this book. The only thing known for sure is that something in chapter 15 seems to make body parts fall off.
If you’re very brave, one of those who would battle a dragon with only a toothpick for a sword, perhaps you are willing to take your chances and turn the page. But before you read even one more sentence, be sure that you have told your family who gets your favorite toys if you do not survive this book. Read it now, if you dare. But don’t say you haven’t been warned, for this is the story that unfolds the mysteries of the Underworld. Turn the page and begin
Elliot and the Goblin War
When he was eight years old, Elliot Penster started an interspecies war. Don’t blame him. As anyone who has ever started an interspecies war will tell you, it’s not that difficult to do.
Elliot had spent the evening trick-or-treating. Everyone thought he was dressed as a hobo, but he wasn’t. He didn’t have money for a Halloween costume, and so he’d just gone in his everyday clothes.
On that night, his everyday clothes were a pair of his big brother’s old jeans with a hole in one knee, a T-shirt that sort of fit if he didn’t lift his arms up, and a long-sleeved plaid shirt over it that
fit. He also wore two different shoes, which weren’t part of his everyday clothes. It’s just that he couldn’t find their matches.
Either way, he was on his way home with a big sack of candy, which is all that ever really matters on Halloween. He dipped his face into his sack and sniffed up the blend of chocolate, fruit, and sugar smells. And lead? Elliot pulled an orange pencil from his sack and then dropped it back in. Who gives pencils for Halloween? Probably the dentist over on Apple Lane.
Elliot wrapped his sack up tight to keep the smell inside until he got home. He planned to share a few candies with his family and then go wild with the rest in one night of sugar-crazed insanity.
“Help!” a voice cried.
Elliot turned to see a little girl running toward him, dressed as an Elf. Her right arm flailed wildly, and in her left arm she carried a sack almost as big as she was. Every time she screamed, all the dogs in the area howled. Chasing her were two kids about his own size dressed as Goblins.
“Hey!” Elliot yelled at them. “You’re not supposed to take someone else’s candy!”
Elliot ran toward the kids in the Goblin suits. He tossed his heavy sack of candy over his shoulder then swung it toward them. It hit one Goblin in the shoulder and knocked him into the other. They fell on top of each other on the ground.
“Stay out of this,” the Goblin on the bottom snarled. “You’re only a human boy.”
“Don’t make fun of my costume!” Elliot yelled. “Just because you can afford a cool costume doesn’t make you cool.”
The Goblin on the top rolled to his feet. “We don’t want to be cool. We want to be scary.”
“My sister cooks dinners that are scarier than you,” Elliot said. It wasn’t an insult to his sister. She really did.
“You want to see scary?” the Goblin asked. He crouched down on all fours and let out a growling sound that Elliot didn’t think any human voice could make.
Then something happened, something Elliot had never seen a costume be able to do before. Not even the expensive ones. It began bubbling, as if it had become a vat of black, boiling oil. Ripples of bubbles started small but gradually grew bigger, almost as if the Goblin itself were growing in size.
Elliot’s eyes widened. He’d seen things like this in the movies before. Even if this was only a costume, it was still a lot scarier in person than watching it in a theater with a bucket of popcorn on his lap. He didn’t want to watch it, and yet he found it impossible to turn away. Something in his brain yelled at him to run or else he’d be sorry. Elliot agreed with his brain, but his legs didn’t obey. He stumbled back a step and then jumped when the Goblin extended a hand—which now looked more like a claw.
“Don’t look at him!” the girl in the Elf costume yelled.
Elliot had nearly forgotten about her. Instinct took over, and he swung his sack again at the Goblin, but this time the claw grabbed the sack and tore at it, ripping a big hole. Candy poured out, most of it landing with a
in a big puddle of water that splashed all over the Goblins. The Goblins leapt a foot into the air and screeched as if the water was somehow painful to them. The bubbles melted back into the costumes, though Elliot thought there were holes the size of water droplets in their clothes now.
Without a glance backward, they ran down the street and vanished into the night.
It took a moment for Elliot’s heartbeat to return to normal. When he caught his breath, he yelled after them, “Babies!”
If water ruined their costumes so easily, they should’ve worn something else. He leaned over and picked up a few pieces of candy that weren’t too wet. It was the cheap candy, like the kind old women keep in bowls by their TV remotes. There wasn’t even enough left to share with his family.
“Sorry about your candy.”
Elliot turned to see the girl in the Elf costume speaking to him. She had a small mouth and huge brown eyes. Her hair was thick and hung to her shoulders. Looking at her, Elliot finally understood what a button nose is.
“That’s all right,” he said. “Someone probably would’ve stolen it before I got home anyway.”
“You have Goblins too?”
He smiled. “Around here we call them bullies.”
“Oh.” She held out her sack. “Since your candy’s ruined, you can have this.”